Reduction of B2 Visa Validity for Cuban Nationals

The U.S. Department of State reduced the visa validity of B2 visas for Cuban nationals to three months with a single entry, effective March 18, 2019 [PDF version]. This is a significant reduction from prior policy under which Cuban nationals could obtain five-year multiple entry B2 visas.

The DOS made its change under the principle of visa reciprocity. The Cuban government allows U.S. citizen tourists entry of up to two months with a possible extension for up to 30 days. Thus, the longest that a U.S. citizen tourist may be authorized to visit Cuba for a single stay is 30 days. The Cuban government's fee is $50.

Prior to the change, the United States allowed Cuban B2 applicants to obtain a visa valid for up to 60 months for multiple entries. The fee was $160.

The change applies prospectively. Existing five year multiple entry B2 visas will remain valid until they expire. Thus, no existing B2 visas are affected.

This update follows the recent closure of the USCIS's Havana Field Office and the end of most visa processing at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. In general, Cubans must apply for visas outside of Cuba due to these changes [see article].

The limitation of B2 visa validity for Cubans in conjunction with the end of most visa processing services in Cuba negatively affects Cubans seeking to visit the United States on B2 visas. However, Cubans remain eligible for B2 visas, albeit for far shorter validity periods than under prior policy. Cuban nationals with questions about coming to the United States as tourists or under a different nonimmigrant or immigrant category should consult with an experienced immigration attorney for case-specific guidance on navigating the current immigration environment for Cuban nationals.